Pagan Studies


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Studies Blogs

Advanced and/or academic Pagan subjects such as history, ethics, sociology, etc.

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Update on My Wandering Uterus

It is almost a year after the initial conversation that sparked the crazy idea to write a collection of women's stories and call it "My Wandering Uterus" (for more details on that journey, please reference Byron Ballard's blog here: http://www.myvillagewitch.com/my-wandering-uterus/)

As I'm putting together a presentation on the history of the theory of trauma, the irony of this is not lost on me. Men like Jean Martin Charcot and Pierre Janet were some of the first men in their field to turn the tide against the asinine diagnosis of hysteria; recognizing that the manifestation of trauma based symptoms were not physiological in nature, but psychological, and not limited to the uterus. The article that inspired this conversation can be read here: https://lithub.com/hysteria-witches-and-the-wandering-uterus-a-brief-history/

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  • Kate Laity
    Kate Laity says #
    Thanks so much for being part of this exciting project!

Posted by on in Studies Blogs

In my dream I was an aging soap opera actor. I had played the same supporting role for many years, surviving innumerable story lines and becoming a background fixture in the TV community. For decades I had looked forward to the day when my efforts would be recognized and my character would be promoted to the level of a leading role; but it never happened. As my hair gradually turned gray, it seemed to me that every year the writing got more childish and the story lines became more trite. Still my character continued to be taken for granted, while new characters and younger actors were promoted instead.

Finally, the day came when I had had enough. We were blocking a crowd scene in which more and more characters kept entering the room - a confusing affair requiring a lot of choreography, which I felt the director was handling very badly; every lead character who entered was simply sent to Stage Left, and we secondary parts were left sitting in chairs Stage Right. There were only three of us in those chairs, and the more jammed Stage Left became with actors of note, the more demeaned and disrespected I felt.

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  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Once again, Francesca, I find myself thanking you for validating my expression. It is so encouraging to find someone whose efferve
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Thank you for all your kind words, Ted. I agree with what you’re saying about older teachers, ... or at least I believe it’s true
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Oh, my goodness, this is a marvelous post! Perfect! Honest, well written, and important. And once again, we are so in agreement

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
The Magic of Names


The Exeter Book is a collection of medieval poetry from the late tenth century written down by a single scribe. Amongst other treasures, it contains almost a hundred riddles. If you think of medieval monks as pious and devoted -- well, for one thing, you've probably not read Chaucer! Many of the riddles are bawdy and full of double entendres, just like the songs the monks would sing. 

Much of our casual information about life in the Middle Ages comes texts like these: details of natural phenomena or the habits of birds. Riddle 68 is particularly delightful not only for the vivid depiction of the magpie, but also the embedding of the runic puzzle of its name which adds an additional challenge to the reader. 'Hiroga' the Anglo-Saxon name for magpie is only apparent once you unscramble the runic letters.  

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Witches’ Marks and Galdrastafir: Protection Symbols for the Home

Most of the time, I believe that bad things just happen. Not every misfortune is a product of the evil eye or a malefic spirit but part of the natural flux of life that keeps a necessary, healthy, wavering sort of balance. Rarely, however, I do find that something else seems to be at work. This can happen when a shift or transformation happens -- a birth, a death, moving house -- creating liminal times and spaces that make everything within its sphere more vulnerable (and desirable) to misery-making things. Scarlet Magdalene recently published a helpful guide on Patheos Pagan for deciding whether or not someone has been cursed or hexed; I recommend checking it out and giving it a good think if this sounds like your situation.

As I mentioned in my last post, my husband and I recently bought an old house in the mountains. Two months later, we still haven’t been able to really move in. January was a series of large and small disasters, expenses, inconveniences, and illnesses. It's almost comical, except that we’re so tired and overwhelmed and almost broke from it all.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Fake Magic

I've long had a fascinating with grifters and fakes. In the Middle Ages, as now, there were plenty of folk looking for a quick windfall by pretending to be something they were not. Sometimes they had good reasons: the young woman Silence who pretended to be a minstrel and then a knight and rose to the heights of both professions needed to hide the fact that -- well, she was female.

Most often of course the hoodwinking was to get money out of the unwary (like Chaucer's Canon's Yeoman's tale). Money wasn't the only motivator though: there are few guilty pleasures as delicious as revenge well-served. A fine example is the Scottish text, The Freiris of Berwick.

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Kehinde Wiley, Barack Obama, Art History, Race, and Gender

X-Posted to my art blog, mythandwonder.com

 

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